Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rabies, HIV & 'Cup Teachers

This past week I saw little boy at the Children's Wellness Centre who had been bitten by a possibly rabid dog. The wound looked infected, he was running a fever, had a sore throat, and was having difficulty eating. He had been bitten 9 days earlier. The mother took him to the government hospital in Manzini where they told them that they had no medication to treat rabies. They also checked at the government hospital in Mbabane and they didn’t have any either. The hospital told the mother to bring him to another government hospital about 2 hours away. What these people don’t think about is that she had no money for transport, so she brought him to us. Since I didn’t have the medication either, we gave him transport money to go back and forth 5 times to complete the series of rabies shots. Thank the Lord that she did bring him before it was too late!!!

Today we held a clinic for the Mbabane CarePoints. I saw one little 7 year old boy who is very sick. The teacher thinks that we need to get him tested for HIV and I agree. I could barely get a half smile out of him. You can tell by the look on his face that he just doesn’t feel well. The teacher says that he doesn’t play like the other children. He just wants to sit. He has many rotten teeth, and also seems to have a yeast infection in his mouth. He says that it feels like he has sores all the way down his throat and it is very painful to swallow. His mother died about a year ago and his father is very sick now. My heart just goes out to these little ones that are so helpless, weak and ill. I asked the teacher/HCW to ask him if we could pray for him, and as soon as she got the words out of her mouth, he folded his little hands in front of his face and began to pray in SiSwati like his heart was on fire. I couldn’t do anything but cry. When he finished, I barely got out a little pray between tears. I asked the teacher what he was praying and she said that he was praying for the Lord to help him in school and to make his daddy well and for his gogo and several other things, none of which were for him. I was amazed; someone has been teaching this boy to pray. I pray that the Lord will keep these children so that they can grow up and be the next generation that sparks a revival of God’s spirit and power in Swaziland.

Last week we had HIV testing at the Children's Wellness Centre with an organization called TASC. Abraham went out to the CarePoints and spoke with the teachers and care givers about the children that we think need to be tested. We expected to have 20 children and their care givers there. We only had about 6, and half of them showed up without a care giver. I was very disappointed; however, the people from TASC said that this was not unusual. The people need more education, they are afraid. The more education we give our communities, the better response we will get. We will try to set up some times that the people can come and get more information before we have another testing day.

One of the teachers sent a little boy that lives with his gogo. Both his mother and father have died with HIV. The gogo is very sick and could not come to the clinic. When we called the teacher to see why no one came with him, she said that she spoke to the gogo and she is begging for us to test the boy. He is sick all of the time and gogo is convinced that he needs to be tested. Since gogo could not come, I asked the teacher if she would write a letter that says that gogo gives her permission to have the boy tested and treated if necessary for HIV, and have gogo sign it. The teacher agreed to take the responsibility of this little one who is in her class. She said that he is sick very often and sometimes does not have food except for the meal that he gets at the CarePoint each day. I told her that this is a big responsibility for her to take on. She said that she is willing, and that she just wants to see him live. By doing this, the teacher must come with him to the clinic for counseling, make sure he gets his medications twice daily, twelve hours apart, and also make sure he has enough food. This is very heroic of this teacher, and I pray that God will bless her abundantly for her sacrifice.

We are very thankful to the Lord for the progress that we are seeing in the lives of our teachers. God is really moving in their hearts and lives and continues to help them grow in grace and wisdom in Him!

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